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AU Break down barriers to build homes

Property Here - Tuesday, July 16, 2013

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Break down barriers to build homes

Bricklayer for Full Brick Designer Homes, Danny Barratt at work on a house in Sydney. Source: News Limited

The Australian dream of a suburban house is fast changing due to a lack of supply in Sydney.

The housing shortage is keeping young adults at home longer and pushing more people into rental housing.

Governments can try to intervene in the market but it is ultimately best for governments to keep out of the way. The private sector understands the marketplace and the fact that the Sydney community is now much more diverse than 50 years ago.

A fundamental shift has occurred in housing choice that needs to be supported through more flexible planning laws.

Many younger people and an increasing number of retiring baby boomers are preferring to live closer to the action in apartments near town centres and transport hubs.

The big problem is many communities don't like change and are threatened by new types of housing, generally units, in the neighbourhood.

Action groups then fight against new housing and that reduces supply even further.

National leadership is needed to support housing diversity. We need lots of housing of differing types in different locations.

This will mean detached houses on the city's fringe and townhouses and apartments in inner city areas. Sydney needs a pro more housing attitude with a pro more housing taskforce in the government to drive housing supply.

The federal government should review its national rental affordability scheme to make it more market responsive. Instead of a standard subsidy for all housing across Australia, the amount should be adjusted to the costs in particular locations to increase the supply of affordable housing.

The National Housing Supply Council listed the NSW housing shortfall as the largest in Australia at 73,700 in 2011 and it must now be over 80,000. These are big numbers and they need a bold approach.

The three key players in the housing supply are government which sets regulations, the private sector that wants to deliver new housing and the community that often seems to object to change.

Community groups need to understand that every time they object to a new housing development they are reducing supply and increasing costs for the next generation of the same community. At the end of the day we all need to support new types of housing in a variety of areas. We need politicians, regulators, communities and the media to understand the link between housing affordability and the need for a dramatic increase in supply.

We can't hang on to the past, we must move with the times and the changing preferences of many Australians to live differently to their parents.

We need a new approach to housing supply that responds to the diversity of society.

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